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Odom Can’t Provide a Lift

Times Staff Writer

At or near the top of the Lakers’ growing list of troubles is the unclear health status of forward Lamar Odom.

The Lakers’ second-leading scorer could barely raise his arms Friday because of torn rib cartilage. He has not slept well and was told by Laker trainers to try to avoid coughing or sneezing for fear of causing further discomfort.

“It doesn’t feel good at all,” said Odom, who sat out the Lakers’ 112-102 loss to Charlotte. “I couldn’t even put on deodorant this morning.”

Odom, averaging 14 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists, said he hoped to return Tuesday against Dallas, although Coach Phil Jackson was less optimistic.

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“We have no idea how long it’s going to take,” he said. “One game, two games, we can’t comment. Maybe this whole trip and then maybe all the way through the All-Star game, who knows? We just have to cover for him.”

The Lakers have three more games on their current trip and six more games overall until the All-Star break.

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Ronny Turiaf’s request for a work visa has been approved, making him eligible to play for the Lakers next week.

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A French citizen born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Turiaf will appear Monday in Toronto to sign appropriate paperwork. He had to leave the country and then re-enter it again, as per terms of upgrading his student visa to a work visa, a Laker spokesman said.

“He should be eligible to play,” Laker spokesman John Black said. “At that point, it becomes Phil’s decision.”

Jackson indicated it might be a while for Turiaf, who has not been scrimmaging with the first or second teams at practice.

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Historically speaking, things could get better for Kobe Bryant.

Over his first nine seasons, he averaged 23.7 points in February, better than any other month, according to STATS LLC.

Throughout his career, he gradually increases his average every month until March, at which point he slips to 21.8 points and then 20.2 in April.

TONIGHT

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at New Orleans/Oklahoma City

5 PST, Ch. 9

Site -- Ford Center, Oklahoma City.

Radio -- 570; 1330.

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Records -- Lakers 24-22; Hornets 23-22.

Record vs. Hornets (2004-05) -- 3-0.

Update -- Buoyed by rookie-of-the-year candidate Chris Paul, the Hornets have won eight of their last 11 games. Paul, a point guard from Wake Forest, is averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 assists.


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